The Nature Conservancy plays show and tell
A new kid-friendly website, Nature Works Everywhere, aims to change the way kids think about nature and environmental issues. Along the way, parents might learn something, too.
Produced by Discovery Education and The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit organization working to protect threatened wildlife habitats around the world, the site wants kids to understand that nature isn’t just in faraway places like the Amazon rainforest or the coral reefs in Asia. It’s part of the world around them. Nature is everywhere, and everywhere nature works to make the stuff that’s essential for life.
The site includes brief, engaging, and easy-to-understand videos of essential environmental issues, such as the importance of pollinators or clean water. These aren’t dull science lessons. True to the site’s mission, these short films focus on real and immediate impacts that have relevance for viewers. Take the video about those famous coral reefs, for example. Rather than lecturing kids about protecting a vanishing habitat, real life scientists explain how reefs are a source of valuable food and medicine.
A favorite section of the site features brief interviews with researchers from The Nature Conservancy, who explain how they got into their fields, what excites them about science, and what motivates them in their work. At a time when too many kids are turned off by science at an early age, these profiles offer great examples of how science can be interesting, relevant, and meaningful.
Nature Works Everywhere is produced with students, teachers, and families in mind. Which is to say, some of the education materials and lesson plans can be avoided if you’re exploring the site at home. (It might be worthwhile to share the site with the educators in your life.) Regardless, there's plenty to keep you and your kids engaged in a shared learning experience. Like the interactive games that illustrate the sometimes-surprising links between certain tools and natural products. Don’t know the connection between dynamite and fish sticks? You’ll have to play to find out.